friday feast: if you hear an onion ring, answer it

“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time; And sometimes you weep.” ~ Carl Sandburg


Slap me with a wet noodle.

The other day, for the first time in 30+ years of married life, I ran out of onions. Of course I discovered this serious lack of forethought right around 5:30 p.m., when I was ready to start dinner.

I mean, who runs out of onions? Nobody, that’s who. I was doomed. Elizabeth Robbins Pennell’s words rang out loud and clear:

Banish (the onion) from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.

No, I was not about to run to the grocery store during rush hour. Drivers here would eat me alive, don their smoking jackets, then gnaw on my windshield wipers. Goodbye, chili! Goodbye chicken soup! Goodbye veggie stir fry! There is simply no cooking without onions. Despair, that’s my middle name. Insipid is my game. Even worse, Julia Child chimed in: “It’s hard to imagine civilization without onions.” Add to my resumé, “savage Neanderthal.” *hangs head*

What to do? I consoled myself with this poem. I wept onion tears. Then, we got take-out.

by Roy Blount, Jr.

Watercolor still life by Valerie.

They improve everything, pork chops to soup,
And not only that but each onion’s a group.

Peel back the skin, delve into tissue
And see how an onion has been blessed with issue.

Every layer produces an ovum:
You think you’ve got three then you find you’ve got fovum.

(Rest is here.)

Of course, now I’m obsessed with everything onion. How do you like them best?

Mmmmmm, homemade rings do like me,

photo by mooshee85 (recipe here).

caramelized onions go with anything,

photo by fritish.

and of course, classic French onion soup is the pièce de résistance. Très délicieux!

  photo by LaCuisineHélène. (Recipe is here.)

Are you all stocked up on onions?

Today’s Roundup is being hosted by Caldecott Honor Medal winner Liz Garton Scanlon (how I love saying that!) at Liz in Ink. Be sure to check out all the poems she has on the menu. We are so proud of her and Tanita S. Davis, who won a Coretta Scott King Honor award on Monday. Way to go, Poetry Princesses!!

 cake courtesy of

Did you know? Ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion as a symbol of eternity (they loved the circle-within-a-circle structure). They buried their Pharaohs with onions — attached to the soles of the feet, along the legs, flattened against the ears. King Ramses IV was entombed with onions in his eye sockets.

“The onion and its satin wrappings is among the most beautiful of vegetables and is the only one that represents the essence of things. It can be said to have a soul.” ~ Charles Dudley Warner

“Mine eyes smell onions. I shall weep anon.” ~ Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.